What is self-esteem, how does your self-esteem impact your daily life, and what are some steps you can take to improve your self-esteem?
I’m not going to lie, I used to have zero self-esteem. I took what others said about me, and I listened to it. Ultimately, I let the opinions of others determine the opinions I had about myself.
“You’re too fat” or “You are so dumb” or my favorite one “You’re head is so big it’s no wonder you’re slow.”
These are all opinions I listened to and took to heart for much of my youth.
I started seeing myself as being fat. I started seeing myself as always being one step behind others. And admittingly, there were times where I would bang my head against a wall hoping that it would magically reduce in size.
Looking back, that probably wasn’t my smartest idea.
That was the reality for me though. I was so caught up by caring about what everybody else thought of me and allowed those opinions to determine how I felt about myself.
What Is Self-Esteem?
Self-esteem is used to describe a person’s overall sense of self-worth or personal value.
In other words, your self-esteem refers to how much you appreciate and like yourself. It involves a variety of beliefs about yourself, such as the appraisal of your own appearance, beliefs, emotions, and behaviors.
Your self-esteem is a reflection of your perceived value. If you do not have a positive self-image, your motivation to achieve great things diminishes. If you do have a positive self-image, you care less about what others think and live your life how you see fit.
How Does Self-Esteem Impact Your Life?
As it did for me, self-esteem can play a significant role in your motivation and success throughout your life. Low self-esteem may hold you back from succeeding at school, work, or even in your social life because you don’t believe yourself to be capable of success or worthy of achieving anything worth achieving.
On the contrary, having a healthy self-esteem can help you achieve because you navigate life with a positive, assertive attitude and believe you can accomplish your goals.
I didn’t start finding happiness and success in my life until just a few short years ago. One of the main contributors to this was finally starting to care less about what others thought of me and simply just being the person I wanted to be.
4 Amazing Steps to Improve Your Self-Esteem & Find Confidence
If you are struggling to find any amount of self-esteem, you may be wondering where to even begin. Just the thought of starting to find something to be happy with can be an overwhelming thought just in and of itself.
But as with everything in life, the key to improving your self esteem is to gradually take steps towards bettering a negative self-image. Over time, these seemingly small steps will become a habit and create greater self-worth.
Here are 4 amazing steps to improve your self-esteem and to help you find confidence in who you are as an individual.
1. Be mindful of how you talk to yourself.
We can’t change something if we don’t recognize that there is something to change. By simply becoming aware of our negative self-talk, we begin to distance ourselves from the feelings it brings up. Without this awareness, we can easily fall into the trap of believing our self-limiting talk. As C.S. Lewis once said, “We are what we believe we are.”
As soon as you find yourself going down the path of self-criticism, gently note what is happening, be curious about it, and remind yourself that the thoughts passing through your mind aren’t always the truth.
2. Write your own story.
After you’ve learned to become mindful and change your negative thought patterns, the next step is changing the narrative and writing your own story. Because your perception determines your actions, the story you’ve been telling yourself has to change to encourage a more positive thought process.
A great way to change your thoughts is by using positive affirmations. Research indicates that repeatedly writing down positive personality traits even helps regulate depression.
If you suffer from lower self esteem, try it out for yourself. Instead of saying I can’t, start saying I can, or I am!
I am going to… and fill in the blank based on what it is you want to achieve.
For instance, instead of saying I don’t have what it takes to be a millionaire, start saying: I am going to be successful in the near future and have what it takes to become a millionaire. See how just a simple change of words can help motivate you?
3. Stop comparing yourself to others.
It’s easy to fall into the comparison trap as we all use social media. One minute we can be feeling good about ourselves, and the next we decide to open our phones and see others who are “living a better life” than we are.
We start to wonder why we don’t have the life they do, what separates them from us, and why life tends to favor them more.
While comparing ourselves to others can sometimes be used as a way to help motivate us to continue to make progress towards our goals, in many cases, it tends to have a negative impact.
For instance, comparing yourself to a celebrity or someone with a large social media following can make you feel inferior and lead to self-destructive behaviors. It can seem like such a distant goal to ever be able to reach that level or status one day, so you start to feel down on yourself and don’t even bother trying.
That’s why you need to stop comparing yourself to others. No matter how hard you try, you will never be that person. But what’s more important to note is that you are you, and that is your greatest strength.
4. Forgive those who did you wrong.
You may have been wronged, but it’s always important to realize that you have done wrong onto others as well. Do you want those you have wronged to forgive you? If so, then you need to be willing to forgive those who have wronged you no matter the severity of the situation.
By holding on to feelings of bitterness or resentment, the only thing you are doing is holding onto those negative emotions and keeping yourself stuck in a cycle of negativity. If you haven’t forgiven yourself for the mistakes you have made or others for how they treated you, you will only continue to hold resentment and won’t be able to move forward with your life.
Before You Go
No matter where you are in life, it is important to embrace who you are as a person. Raising your self-image is a pivotal step in achieving your goals and dreams, and ultimately, it’s an important step in living your best life.
Once you start using these steps to improve your self-esteem, there will be nothing you cannot accomplish. Be yourself, love yourself, and never be ashamed of who you are.